Why These 'Cool Images' May Send You Scurrying For Disinfectant!

By Meera Dolasia on March 2, 2013

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At first glance, these pictures seem a little intriguing and even appear cool to some of you. However, that opinion may change once you realize that the images are not some kind of modern art but instead, those of actual bacteria that thrive upon the touchscreens of all smart phones.

The photos are a result of a classroom experiment recently conducted by the students of England's University of Surrey for their Practical and Biomedical Bacteriology unit. They began by lifting an imprint off their smartphone screens and transferring it to bacterial growth Petri dishes.

Within three days, the students were rewarded for their efforts with many different kinds of 'cool images' - All belonging to the different bacterium that were happily thriving on their respective cell phones. The good news is that most of them were like the genus Micrococcus, a harmless bacteria that is commonly found on human skin.

A few however, did have the Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria responsible for ailments like staph infections and food poisoning. But Dr. Simon, the professor that assigned the experiment, was not fazed by that either - That's because 20% of people are persistent carriers of this bacteria while over 60% carry it intermittently!

Another common thing found was bacteria from things the owners had recently touched. For example, one Petri dish featured a dense colony of Bacillus mycoldes - A bacteria that normally thrive in soil, which led the professor to rightfully conclude that the owner of the cellphone had recently been gardening or somehow come in contact with mud. Not surprisingly, touchscreen phones harbored more bacteria than ones with keypads - Time to revert to good old flip phones again?

Resources: Dailymail.co.uk, gizmag.com

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  • ThisIsMe!!!Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm
    • nicoli
      nicoliThursday, June 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm
      • 56steps
        56stepsTuesday, May 20, 2014 at 4:33 pm
        That's really really gross but it kinda looks cool. I think it was a great idea to conduct an experiment like that. I wonder what my iPods bacteria would look like???? Gabby
        • 0595budderingots
          0595budderingotsTuesday, May 20, 2014 at 8:02 am
          Forget disinfectant, Get me life alert! =P Jk
          • 0595budderingots
            0595budderingotsTuesday, May 20, 2014 at 8:04 am
            I've fallen and I can't get up... xD
          • 7jmmc7
            7jmmc7Monday, May 19, 2014 at 6:22 pm
            Eww that's so disgusting. Gross. Well I don't care I like my electronics. Lol. <3 =D
            • TheNerdyCreeperMonday, May 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm
              Good thing I have a lifeproof case and.... wait what?
              • 56steps
                56stepsMonday, May 19, 2014 at 4:35 pm
                Don't worry that bacteria is campleatly harmless to the human skin it actually helps keep us alive and kills other bad bacteria. That shows that gross things can actually be good on the inside
                • wafflequeenMonday, May 19, 2014 at 5:17 am
                  i am so glad i don't have my phone. that is disgusting!!!
                  • 7jmmc7
                    7jmmc7Monday, May 19, 2014 at 6:23 pm
                    Me too, Kinda. Well I have an iPod touch which is basically the same thing but oh well!
                  • JustTuesday, May 13, 2014 at 8:39 pm
                    Whoa gross
                    • cz
                      czTuesday, May 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm



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